Converting areas of turf and lawn into native warm season grasslands increases the vertical structure and species diversity necessary to feed and provide cover for grassland birds such as bobwhite quail, grasshopper sparrows, meadowlarks, and loggerhead shrikes. Typical warm-season grass species include switchgrass, indiangrass, little and big bluestem, which can be mixed into a beautiful wildflower meadow filled with black-eyed Susans, partridge pea, purple coneflower, butterfly milkweed, and New England Asters.
Virginia Working Landscapes Group -- Piedmont Environmental Council and partners are collaborating on a region-wide effort to promote grassland ecosystems with resident landowners. Check out the website for more information about converting your property from fescue to grassland, to network with other Piedmont landowners about demonstration sites and service providers, and to share your experiences with bringing grassland and meadow ecosystems back to Virginia's Piedmont. You might also check out:
- Grow a Native Grass Meadow. VA Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries
- Grasslands in Virginia and Native Plants List. VA Dept. of Conservation & Recreation
- Prescribed Fire & Smoke Management VA Dept. of Forestry
- Virginia Prescribed Fire Council. VA Dept. of Forestry
- Virginia's Horse Pastures: Forage Species for Horse Pastures. VA Cooperative Extension
- Area Sensitivity in North American Grassland Birds: Patterns and Processes. The American Ornithologists' Union